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Santa Ana declared a sanctuary city

City council members vote to not question residents documentation or legal status.

Students+march+on+downtown+Los+Angeles+after+walking+out+of+class+Nov.+14%2C+in+Los+Angeles.+Demonstrators+demanded+local+politicians+to+declare+L.A.+County+a+sanctuary.+%28Brian+van+der+Brug%2C+Los+Angeles+Times%29
Students march on downtown Los Angeles after walking out of class Nov. 14, in Los Angeles. Demonstrators demanded local politicians to declare L.A. County a sanctuary. (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times)

Students march on downtown Los Angeles after walking out of class Nov. 14, in Los Angeles. Demonstrators demanded local politicians to declare L.A. County a sanctuary. (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times)

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Students march on downtown Los Angeles after walking out of class Nov. 14, in Los Angeles. Demonstrators demanded local politicians to declare L.A. County a sanctuary. (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times)

Michael Garcia

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Santa Ana declared itself a sanctuary city Tuesday, after city council members voted unanimously in favor of the protective move.

According to a Los Angeles Time article, “Santa Ana declares itself a sanctuary city in defiance of Trump,” city council members want to make the declaration official as an ordinance and will follow major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Rafael Topete, Director of Cal State Long Beach’s Dream Success Center, said there is no clear definition of what a sanctuary city is. Most have policies or laws that protect undocumented immigrants and usually prohibit police officers from questioning documentation.

As a commuter school, CSULB hosts many students from surrounding cities, including Santa Ana.

“I am 100 percent in support of the movement,” sophomore psychology major Eddie Le said. “I’m actually from Santa Ana and I have close friends [who] are undocumented. I’ve grown up with them and they belong in the community just as much as I do.”

Topete said that although the act is good for residents’ morale and shows elected officials are supporting all citizens of Santa Ana, there is a downside of declaring a city a sanctuary – specifically, the mixed media attention and the potential for the city to be cut from federal funding by not following federal law.

“It is the first city in Orange County [to declare itself a sanctuary city], and signifies that Orange County has changed dramatically,” Topete said.

Santa Ana is the second-most populated city in Orange County, a historically conservative-leaning area.

“I’m from Newport Beach and they’re pretty conservative. I think it could be beneficial but I don’t know how it works and if they can get financial aid,” sophomore criminal justice major Austin Rogalla said. “I think people should aim for higher education. Everyone should have an equal opportunity.”

According to the United States Census Bureau website, Santa Ana’s population is 72 percent Latinx, 10 percent Asian, 9 percent white, 1 percent black and Native American populations and 0.3 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

“I think it’s good that they declared themselves a sanctuary city,” sophomore human development major Johana Meza said. “Just because people are undocumented doesn’t mean they’re bad unless they’re committing crimes. If they’re just working and going to school, it shouldn’t matter whether they’re undocumented or not.”

A CNN article titled “Trump condemns sanctuary cities, but what are they?” states that sanctuary cities do not cooperate with federal immigration laws and authorities. President-elect Trump said he would cut funding to sanctuary cities and that they house dangerous immigrants who commit crimes against Americans.

According to the United States Census Bureau website, Long Beach has a Latinx population of 40 percent, as well as a Latino mayor and police chief.

“If we look at what Mayor [Robert] Garcia and Police Chief [Robert Luna] have said and look at their actions, that speaks whether Long Beach would be considered a sanctuary city and I would say it is,” Topete said. “I think whether the [declaration] comes or not, people should feel safe because the spirit of a sanctuary city is there.”

Topete said that Long Beach has done more to protect undocumented immigrants  than other cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries.

According to a Long Beach Press Telegram article “Long Beach may find itself at odds with Donald Trump on immigration policy,” Luna said Long Beach police will continue to follow the Trust Act, which prevents police from keeping individuals in custody solely for an immigration hold, unless they have convictions of prior felonies.

“I definitely think Long Beach should declare itself as a sanctuary city, especially because of the demographics. [Undocumented immigrants] have more of a need and are more effected,” Le said.

Topete said that another possibility would be to have Los Angeles County or the entire state be declared a sanctuary.

“It would show we are very progressive,” Topete said. “I think it would only make sense if the state would declare it and it would save putting individual cities as targets. It would also have to outline what it means [to be a sanctuary].”

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